There’s no denying that the political pendulum has swung in the Democrats’ direction the last 2 election cycles. This article in Politico.com suggests that, at minimum, Democrats will have more seats to defend in 2010. Couple that with Saxby Chambliss’ win in the Georgia runoff and the GOP’s John Fleming holding onto Bill McCreery’s seat in Louisiana and Joseph Cao defeating William Jeffferson in LA-02 and a case can be made that the Democrats’ momentum has ebbed somewhat. By no means should we accept as fact that the pendulum has shifted back in the GOP’s direction.

“The fact that there’s not an incumbent running for election, and having an appointed incumbent instead, helps us a lot,” Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams said. For those reasons, Wadhams said he was surprised that Salazar decided to accept Obama’s offer.

Assuming that Salazar is confirmed, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) will appoint a replacement to join the newly elected Mark Udall. A flurry of Democratic names are being floated, including Reps. Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and outgoing state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.

The rumor that I’m hearing is that NFL legend John Elway is thinking about running as a Republican. If that happens, the Democrats will have a real fight on their hands. Elway wasn’t just a great quarterback. He’s a charismatic figure, too. It’s still too early to tell what type of candidate Elway would be but their’s no disputing that he’d have substantial fundraising prowess and significantly above average name recognition, two things that most candidates would die for. Here’s what CQ Politics wrote about Elway’s candidacy against Sen. Salazar:

Two-time Super Bowl winner John Elway’s name has been bandied about as a challenger for the Colorado Senate seat held by first-term Democrat Ken Salazar in 2010, but as of now, the former Denver Bronco quarterback, who campaigned in the state for John McCain during this year’s presidential race, trails 49 percent to 38 percent with 13 percent undecided in a Research 2000 poll conducted Dec. 2-4. Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, who dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination before the first caucus or primary vote was cast, fares worse with Salazar leading 51 percent to 37 percent and 12 percent undecided.

That poll is now worthless now that Sen. Salazar isn’t in the picture anymore. Nonetheless, the Colorado GOP has alot of rebuilding to do. Still, having a charismatic person like John Elway at the top of the 2010 ‘ticket’ is bound to energize the GOP faithful and attract unafilliated people to the party, which is a great starting place.

Here’s more on why 2010 will present some challenges for the DSCC:

The departure of the popular incumbent from Colorado, along with Sen. Hillary Rodham’s Clinton’s move to secretary of state and Sen. Joe Biden’s ascension to the vice presidency, has suddenly given the GOP hope of contesting three more Democratic seats in 2010. With two special elections in Delaware and New York, there are now 19 GOP seats and 17 Democratic seats in contention next cycle, including that of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), the biggest Republican target.

In New York, Rep. Peter King (R) is weighing a 2010 challenge against whoever is picked to replace Clinton, and Republican Rep. Mike Castle, who has served as Delaware’s lone House member for eight terms, has not ruled out a run in 2010 against whoever emerges as the Democratic nominee, which could be Biden’s son Beau, the state’s attorney general.

John Cornyn will soon assume control of the NRSC, something that should put a smile on Republicans’ faces. Cornyn is in touch with the blogosphere. He’s a rock-solid conservative who preaches the gospel of energy independence through drilling on the OCS and in ANWR. Most importantly, he’s a very smart, disciplined politician who consistently makes the best arguments for conservative causes.

Sen. Cornyn should be pleased that Peter King is thinking about running for Hillary’s seat. This article should put a smile on his face, too:

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said Thursday that he is “looking very hard” at running for Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat and urged the political leadership in Illinois to hold a special election to fill the vacancy rather than allow a gubernatorial appointment.

In an interview with Politico, Kirk said he was concerned that the state Legislature was moving away from its original plan to pass legislation calling for a special election.
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, who would succeed Gov. Rod Blagojevich if he resigned, said Thursday that, if he becomes governor, he’d rather appoint Obama’s replacement than wait for a special election.

Kirk said he would not be satisfied if Quinn filled the vacancy.

“At this point, everyone is tainted. In order to restore the trust of the people of Illinois in their representatives, this decision should not be made by people connected to a corrupt government,” said Kirk.

“We should return this seat to the people who own it, not the corrupt government. In this state, trust has been broken between the state of Illinois and its people.”

Kirk would be a strong contender and is giving national Republicans hope they have a shot at picking up a seat that was certain to remain in Democratic hands. A naval officer, Kirk has a clean image with no ties to Springfield or the Chicago political machine. And he has prevailed in two tough campaigns in his suburban Chicago district, giving him invaluable name identification for a statewide campaign.

If Kirk runs, especially in this environment, he’d cause Illinois Democrats serious trouble. Kirk is a polished politician with solid support from independents and conservatives alike. The fact that he’s maintained a squeaky clean image while practicing politics in Chicago won’t be ignored, either. I’d suspect that that’ll be one of Rep. Kirk’s main campaign themes.

Things aren’t looking nearly as gloomy for the GOP as they did in 2006. Still, there’s alot of rebuilding to do. Still, we now have a blueprint for 2010 and beyond thanks to the work of Redstate’s Erick Erickson and TheNextRight’s Patrick Ruffini and many others. It’ll still take alot of work. The good news is that Sen. Cornyn’s leadership, coupled with this new blueprint, represents a smarter leadership that identifies with the Heartland’s priorities instead of Washington’s priorities.

That’s a new direction I can get behind.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

One Response to “Are We Watching The Political Pendulum Switch?”

  • eric z. says:

    Elway, as Jack Kemp redux?

    Cookie Gilchrist allegedly would not block for Kemp, because of what he thought of him. The old AFL days in Buffalo were interesting.

    Elway and Largent, what do you think of that, when it comes to talent? Those guys became millionaires via the locker room, and none of the ex-jock crowd seem to go political except via the GOP.

    Any idea why?

    Finally, I shall check the links about the GOP reorientation, as I think it is going to happen and it will be a very major thing.

    I wonder where Huckabee fits into the GOP future. He and Ron Paul, opposites in many ways, seemed the most impressive figures with McCain tired and old and Palin young and stupid.

    It will be interesting to see if it comes out like hash, all the leftovers thrown into the new meal, etc.

    Also, how will the bailout, coming from within a GOP administration after two GOP terms without anybody watching Wall Street, be worked into a GOP position? I see that as a currently major question, but one that, like the jacked-up pump prices, could fade quickly. Ultimately, will it be a pragmatic adjustment or an ideologically infused event?

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